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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3056..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

That is a fair accusation, and it is partly because the Liberals do not have any other campaign to run on at the moment, although I can see how tremendously interested they are in this matter of public importance-to the point that they have all left their seats. Their argument was very much along the lines: Liberals equal good; Labor equals bad. To give Mr Smyth the benefit of a bit more sophistication in the argument; perhaps it was: Liberals equal low-taxing, responsible financial managers; Labor equals high-taxing, high-spending, irresponsible financial managers.

Mr Smyth should give the ACT community acknowledgment of a bit more understanding of the issues. He has got to get with the program a bit and see that people understand why they have to pay taxes: they want services, which cost money. It is the government's job and the Assembly's job to make decisions about that.

It is rather unfortunate that this is the only thing that the Liberals can grab onto and run with. It is an age-old Liberal campaign; it was dreamt up 100 years ago that Liberals are good financial managers. Some of the fiascos that occurred during the previous government would lend some suspicion to that claim. Tomes have been written about the financial responsibility of the opposition when they were in government, and it was not that pretty, from my reading of it.

Mr Smyth also says that, because they are good financial managers-and this covers an area of my portfolio, Mr Deputy Speaker-they suppress wages. He said that it is responsible management to suppress wages. In fact, they could deliver wage outcomes-half of whatever CPI was running-and that is responsible financial management. They could also refuse to give award increases to the community sector, which is something this government is addressing. I guess that is financially responsible as well.

In the last week or so we have seen the socialists' friend on the other side, Mr Pratt, take a much more supportive approach to appropriate wage remuneration-very supportive, in fact. I am pleased to see it. I am looking forward to a submission from Mr Pratt on his complete support of the teachers' wage claim, which is 26.87 per cent, and on how he would be financially responsible and deliver that outcome to teachers.

It would be of interest to me because I would not mind delivering that outcome, if we could. I am certainly pleased to have his support. The debate today has been basic and has been based on an old campaign, one that the community is tired of and does not relate to. It simply is not true. I will finish on that point.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Civil Law (Wrongs) Amendment Bill 2003

Detail stage

Proposed new clause 17A.

Debate resumed.

MS TUCKER (4.46): The Greens will be opposing this amendment. This is another example of an amendment seeking to deliver to insurance companies whatever they


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